Create a Vision#

The first step in the initiation phase is to create a vision for what the IMA will accomplish within the organization. Creating the vision requires more than simply writing the vision down, although that's certainly necessary. Creating a vision is a collective effort among the people who will have to buy off on and participate in the IMA activity.

The first step in creating the vision is for the enterprise leader (perhaps the CEO or the CIO) to establish the need for the IMA and to issue a challenge to the organization to create one. The challenge should spell out, in high-level terms, the objectives that the IMA activity is meant to accomplish. For example, the objectives might be:

  • Protecting critical business information assets through the proper use of digital identity
  • Enabling business interactions with partners and suppliers
  • Understanding our customers better
  • Supporting safe access to critical information and processes by customers, employees, suppliers, and partners
  • Building a digital identity infrastructure that is flexible and agile

These objectives should be placed in a charter that is communicated widely within the enterprise, both to business and IT units.

"straw-man" vision#

After communicating the charter, the next task is to develop a "straw-man" vision that describes a target digital identity infrastructure fulfilling business goals and objectives in a generic way. The following are specific steps you can take to help create the straw-man vision:
  • Assemble background information on the business units, lines of business, its customers, partners, suppliers, objectives, people, and so on. This information can come from many sources including site visits, interviews, written reports, position papers, memos, and product literature.
  • Determine the business goals and objectives of business unit leadership, and identify identity issues buried within those goals and objectives.
  • Visit other organizations that are further along the path to creating an IMA and already have a working digital identity infrastructure.
  • Prepare presentations using the information gleaned in previous steps and the straw-man vision to present to key business executives within the organization.
  • Meet with key business leaders to ensure that your understanding of the business goals is correct and to present the plan for the IMA process. These meetings should reinforce the charter and present the straw-man vision as such.
  • Make commitments to business leaders about how the IMA and resulting digital identity infrastructure will positively affect their business to generate support. Such commitments will be contingent on key assumptions being met. Be sure to document these commitments and be accountable to them as the process matures.

Shared Vision#

With these steps completed, it is time for a series of meetings among those in the enterprise who are the influencers and leaders. The goal of these meetings is to establish a shared vision, translate the high-level objectives into more specific goals, and assign roles to specific members of the organization. These facilitated meetings should build from the "straw-man" vision developed earlier into a group consensus around the outcomes that will result if the IMA process is successful.

Facilitated meetings are an established way of creating shared vision, and we recommend that you employ a trained facilitator. An experienced facilitator will be able to consult with you on specific techniques for achieving the goals of the initiation phase, and can help adjust the meetings and processes accordingly.

Detailed notes as to any agreements should be kept from these proceedings.

More Information#

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